I’m always surprised when people ask me questions about “the why of things”. There’s no logic in my approach. I’m guided only by my feelings. So I can’t answer when people ask me, “Why the Indians and not the Samurai?”
The Masai, they were a choice. And the others followed because it was a pleasure to sculpt them and because it gave people pleasure to come and look at them. I tried to remain faithful to the history of each people, which I studied before attacking each of the series. There are many other tribes in Africa. All over Africa you find the Fulani, a nation of shepherds. The Masai also have Fulani types. You also find them in the south of Africa.
In Senegal there are different ethnic groups. I could delve into the customs of each town, each country, forever and find at least three or four ethnic groups that could provide the subject for a series of sculptures…
Sculptor extraordinaire of the human body, Ousmane Sow (b. 1935, Dakar) infuses his creations with potent life force and raw energy. Inspired by Riefenstahlís photos of the Nuba, he abandoned his career as a physiotherapist, invented new techniques and materials, and created The Nuba, a group of muscular, virile, larger-than-life wrestlers (1984-87). Monumental representations of The Masai (1989) and The Zulus (1990) followed, and in 1992 his work was selected for Documenta IX…